This year The Armory Show is back in New York with 203 galleries from all over the globe. From those, 145 are in the Contemporary section of Pier 94. Divided into three specific areas, Pier 94 presents galleries who were placed in the main section, Armory Focus which in 2014 is China, and a new section called Armory Presents with galleries less than ten years old. This year the expansive interior architecture was designed by BSC Architecture (Bade Stageberg Cox) and once again selected galleries, many who return year after year, showcase the work from their program in predetermined rectangular booths. While the physical parameters are the same, each booth is quite different and the goal is to attract collectors either seasoned or burgeoning to acquire work. The level of the Armory is high and the playing field varied, however many of the artists and galleries already have regular collectors. While I’m sure some art is sold during early, private viewings, for most involved the venture is still work and the sale can sometimes be a hard one.
Walking through the Armory, many artists were overheard grunting and complaining that it was “the worst” and “boring”. However, I beg to differ because while not necessarily ground-breaking or shocking, this was the first Armory in years where I can say that there was a lot of art that I could easily live with. Lest we forget that is the point. While some large-scale installation and sculpture was present, the majority of the artwork was in the realm of painting and photography; plug and play. Nothing appeared particularly offensive or overtly charged and maybe that’s ok, since it is in fact an art fair.
As always I’ve put together my TOP TEN PICKS, documented by photographs below. In some cases both gallery and their prospective artists were new to me, such as October Gallery in London, M + B, Los Angeles and Galerie Forsblom. A nice surprise is the large-scale installation by current Whitney Biennial curator Michelle Grabner showing with James Cohan Gallery, uniting the two very different exhibitions and venues, one being commercial the other a timely survey. As always, The Armory Show is a blast, bringing together eager buyers, sweat gleamed gallerists and art appreciators all walking at a slowed pace unlike the busy sidewalks of Manhattan, just a few avenues away.